There is an unbelievable lack of published materials, print or video, on Ladakh. It’s one of the most spectacular and fascinating places on earth and though there have been many tourists, it still feels as though it’s a secret (at least outside India). Below is a list of media resources about Ladakh that BJ recommends.
Books about Ladakh (including Audible)
- Ancient Futures by Helena Norberg Hodge. This is the absolute best book on the topic of Ladakh. The first half talks about Ladakh before it was opened to tourism in 1974 and the second half talks about the impact of opening to India and the west thereafter. It’s an important read.
- This is the second most famous book about Ladakh. It’s worth reading. A Journey In Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism by Andrew Harvey
- Two good books showing and describing the amazing artwork/paintings of Alchi monastery. Getting either of these books before the trip will get you excited to see the artwork in situ with your own eyes. https://amzn.to/45svrIK or https://amzn.to/3soWZ33
- Buddhism and Waste: The Excess, Discard, and Afterlife of Buddhist Consumption This is an important read not just related to the Buddhist world, but in general.
YouTube & videos and films about Ladakh
- A nice travelog from Ladakh (though they visit a number of locations that we won’t be visiting) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pac3SkzzfFk
- Some good footage from Thiksey (our home base in Ladakh) [though the little narration is in Hindi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEaXmP0x8OE
- Some nice footage from Lamayuru monastery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bDSbF4qivE
- Alchi monastery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96Ru3WBS4F0
- A deep dive into the artwork of Alchi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVpgMir4BLI
Articles about Ladakh
- Research article about the Spread of Buddhism in Ladakh (From 2nd BCE to 9th CE)
- This is about a school that we’ll visit during the pilgrimage. https://tricycle.org/article/ladakh-students/
- This was written by the Tricycle representative that joined us in 2018. https://tricycle.org/magazine/ladakh-bauhaus/
- This was written by the Tricycle representative that joined us in 2018. It’s about a dear friend of ours and his efforts to restore ancient ruins in Ladakh (and there’s a photo of mine in the article) https://tricycle.org/magazine/ladakh-stupas/
- This was written by a guest that joined us in Ladakh in 2018. https://tricycle.org/article/travel-photography-buddhism/
- Several articles from Tricycle that commemorate the Dalai Lama’s time in Ladakh during his birthday in 2017. https://tricycle.org/article/5-articles-celebrate-dalai-lamas-82nd-birthday/
- A little write-up about Thiksey Rinpoche (the Head Lama at our home base monastery, Thiksey/Thiksay/Thikse). He is said to be the 9th incarnation of Jangsem Sherap Zangpo
- Here is a link to BJ’s photos from Ladakh over the years. https://www.photografs.net/Ladakh
Films about Ladakh
- 3 Idiots is one of the most popular Bollywood films ever. One of the characters is based on a Ladakhi engineer named Sonam Wangchuk. Much of the film was filmed in Ladakh and it caused a tourism CRAZE of Indians visiting the region. Here is a trailer.
- This is a film based on the book Ancient Futures. It’s worth the watch but isn’t as good as it could be.
- This is the trailer of the film Samsara (follow-up film to Baraka). Baraka was one of my favorite films in the mid-90s. I had been waiting for the follow-up for decades. When I saw the film poster (on Facebook) I could NOT believe my eyes. Our friends from Thiksey monastery were featured heavily in a number of scenes. The film is a gorgeous piece of cinematography (no story line or speaking, only visuals).